1988 Iran Air Flight 655

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Iran Air Flight 655
USS Vincennes launching SM-2MR in 1987.jpgIran Air 655 Strait of hormuz 80.jpg
Type 1 Plane crash
Type 2 War, bombing
Year 1988
Date 07/03
Place Strait of Hormuz, Iran
Perps US Navy
Other [WP 1][ACI 1][R 1][R 2][R 3]

Iran Air Flight 655 was a plane crash psyop taking place on July 3, 1988. The flight crashed after it was shot down by a surface-to-air missile fired by the US Navy. All 274 passengers and 16 crew, 290 people on board allegedly died, of which 66 children and 38 non-Iranians. The incident happened (?) at the end of the Iraq-Iran War of 1980-88.

"Conveniently" done the day before the 4th of July, so the US Americans have a subject to talk about at their celebrations.

171 [=9] days, or 24 weeks, 3 days [=9], before the next big plane crash psyop; Lockerbie Bombing.

No passenger list to be found online in English.

Official story

Iran Air Flight 655 was a scheduled passenger flight from Tehran to Dubai, via Bandar Abbas, that was shot down on 3 July 1988 by an SM-2MR surface-to-air missile fired from USS Vincennes, a guided missile cruiser of the United States Navy. The aircraft, an Airbus A300, was destroyed, and all 290 people on board, including 66 children, were killed. The jet was hit while flying over Iran's territorial waters in the Persian Gulf, along the flight's usual route, shortly after departing Bandar Abbas International Airport, the flight's stopover location. Vincennes had entered Iranian territory after one of its helicopters drew warning fire from Iranian speedboats operating within Iranian territorial limits.

The reason for the shootdown has been disputed between the governments of the two countries. According to the United States government, the crew of USS Vincennes had incorrectly identified the Airbus as an attacking F-14 Tomcat, a U.S.-made jet fighter that had been part of the Iranian Air Force inventory since the 1970s. While the F-14s had been supplied to Iran in an air-to-air configuration, the crew of the guided missile cruiser had been briefed that the Iranian F-14s were equipped with air-to-ground ordnance. Vincennes had made ten attempts to contact the aircraft on both military and civilian radio frequencies, but had received no response.

The International Civil Aviation Organization said that the flight crew should have been monitoring the civilian frequency. According to the Iranian government, the cruiser negligently shot down the aircraft, which was transmitting IFF squawks in Mode III, a signal that identified it as a civilian aircraft, and not Mode II as used by Iranian military aircraft. The event generated a great deal of criticism of the United States. Some analysts blamed the captain of Vincennes, William C. Rogers III, for overly-aggressive behavior in a tense and dangerous environment. In the days immediately following the incident, US President Ronald Reagan issued a written diplomatic note to the Iranian government, expressing deep regret.[WP 1]

The Vincennes' captain, William C. Rogers III, received the prestigious Legion of Merit award two years later for his "sterling performance without a blotch of tarnish", and "his heroic achievement as air warfare coordinator in USS Vincennes on July 3, 1988". The Vincennes' entire crew were also awarded the combat-action ribbon.[R 1]




  • "Conveniently" done the day before the 4th of July, so the US Americans have a subject to talk about at their celebrations.
  • 171 days, or 24 weeks, 3 days [=9], before the next big plane crash psyop; Lockerbie Bombing.
  • Iran releases postage stamp on 08/11 [88], '88.[WP 1]
  • Following the explosion of Pan Am Flight 103 5 months later, the British and American governments initially blamed the PFLP-GC, a Palestinian militant group backed by Syria, with assumptions of assistance from Iran in retaliation for Flight 655.[WP 1]
  • The plane shootdown appears in the series Mayday, season 3 (2005).[ACI 1]
  • Global Research:

The background to this forgotten war crime may prove insightful. The Iranian airliner was blasted out of the sky near the end of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88), in which hundreds of thousands died on each side. President Reagan had been strongly supporting Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, following the 1979 Iranian Revolution in which the US had "lost control" of Iran.

To the present day, the US government has refused to apologise for the incident, despite being compelled to pay over $130 million in compensation (under the Clinton administration). The mainstream media in the US, as usual, played a key role in downplaying the aggression, ensuring it remained largely concealed from the American public's view.

Two days after the Iranian airliner's shooting down, the New York Times ("paper of record") asked its readers to put themselves "in Captain Rogers's shoes". The Times' editors called it "an accident" and that it was "hard to see what the Navy could have done to avoid it". If we believe the Times, then, it was difficult for trained navy personnel (with radar) to distinguish between a near 180-foot long passenger plane, and a fighter plane a third of that size. In fact, the Vincennes' Aegis radar system was "the most technologically advanced in the world" at the time. It was also designed to "track scores of incoming missiles and aircraft in a major sea battle".

On the 25th anniversary of the tragedy in 2013, Max Fisher of The Washington Post stuck dutifully to the line that the Vincennes mistook the large civilian aircraft for the F-14 fighter – as it "exchang[ed] fire with small Iranian ships in the Persian Gulf". Fisher excused the Vincennes' war crime as having been in "the heat of battle", and that "the horrible incident brought Tehran closer to ending the war". A war started by Hussein's Iraq with vital American support.[R 1]

The Vincennes' crew, without visual confirmation, fired at the Iranian passenger airliner 'believing' it to be an F14 jet fighter descending towards it. The plane was not descending; it was fast ascending. Furthermore, a jet fighter is two-thirds smaller than a passenger plane.

This 'accident' came on the heels of another incident in 1987 when a U.S. ship fired its machine guns at a fishing boat from the United Arab Emirates, killing one and injuring three. The fishing boat had been ‘mistaken’ for an Iranian speedboat with 'hostile' intent!

Addressing the Iran Air flight, David R. Carlson, commander of another U.S. ship in the region (Persian Gulf) stated that the conduct of Iranian military forces in the month preceding the incident was pointedly non-threatening," and the actions of the Vincennes "appeared to be consistently aggressive". The Vicennes inclination to kill ruthlessly earned it the nickname "Robo Cruiser"

Not only was there no apology forthcoming, but also the incident would be the start of a string of sky-murders carried out by the United States against Iranian citizens. Thomas Whalen from the aviation law practice of Washington firm Eckert Seamans Cherin and Mellot had argued that sanctions on Iranian carriers are detrimental to airline safety and violate the commitment to airline safety made by the USA, Iran and most nations of the world in 1944 when the Chicago Convention was forged.

Immoral and blind to laws, Robo Cruiser gave way to Robo Sanctions. 17 planes crashed killing some 1,500 people. Terrorism in the skies had become another tool in Washington's arsenal.[R 2]

  • Wife of Vincennes commander, Sharon Rogers, gets killed in San Diego, CA by a car bomb, 8 months later:

Meanwhile, in San Diego, California, Captain Rogers's wife Sharon, a fourth grade teacher, tried to cope with the news of the incident. A week later, at around 1 am, the phone rang, and a man with a Middle Eastern accent asked Sharon if this was the home of Captain Rogers; he then asked her "Are you the wife of the murderer?" to which she hung up the phone. Sharon was afraid that someone was planning retribution against her.

The Naval Investigative Service was called in to the secure the Rogers home. Agents checked the mail and monitored incoming phone calls. They asked Sharon to always keep her van in the garage. Ten weeks passed and no further threats were received. On October 24, 1988, Sharon was at the dock to welcome the U.S.S. Vincennes and her husband home. Despite the lack of threats, the Rogers still kept their guard up and always remembered to place their vehicles in the garage.

On March 9, 1989, however, they forgot to pull Sharon and William's car and van into the driveway. At 7 am the next morning, William drove Sharon's van to a local market to pick up breakfast pastries. After having breakfast, Sharon left in the van for school. At a red light, an explosion occurred in the back of Sharon's van; the van engulfed in flames and Sharon had difficulty exiting due to her seat belt. She was able to free herself with just seconds to spare.

The Naval Investigative Service and the FBI were immediately called in to investigate the explosion. The investigation determined that a large pipe bomb had been strapped to the underbelly of the van. The blast had gone just behind Sharon's seat and out the roof, barely sparing Sharon's life.

The FBI learned from neighbors that about two months prior to the bombing, a stranger had been asking questions on the Rogers's street. The Middle Eastern man asked the neighbors if a Captain lived on the street. He also asked if a Middle Eastern family lived on the street, to which the neighbors pointed to another house. The man has never been located or identified, and police are uncertain as to his involvement in the case.[R 3]

See also




Air Crash Investigation